The Ethiopian Feast Part 1: Kitfo and Cheese

Kitfo, often referred to as Ethiopian steak tartar, is one of my very favorite foods in the world. It was very exciting to try my hand at this very simple dish. The first thing I did was to prepare the cheese that accompanies the meat. Because the meat is so spicy and flavorful, this bland and cooling cheese provides the perfect foil when the two elements are cradled together in a piece of injera. For cheese: 1 quart of buttermilk (I used low fat, because I do try...), cheese cloth and a bit of quark (or yogurt if you have that already), salt I poured the buttermilk into a large pan and kept … [Read more...]

The Making of an Ethiopian Feast: Shopping at Zuma

I used to live just down the street from Zuma, but I had never been there. The non-descript store front failed to call me in, and I knew where to get good Ethiopian food, and was just as happy to drive across town for it. But as I prepared to cook my Ethiopian feast, the fact that Zuma claimed to be a grocery store as well as a restaurant turned out to serve me well. I went in just after they opened, around 10:15 in the morning, and found the place empty except for a small child playing with his toys. There were two large fridges, one filled solely with giant ziploc bags of berebere, the … [Read more...]

Lessons from a Chinese Roommate Part 2: Whole Steamed Fish

I consider myself a fairly adventurous eater so I was okay with it when one of the restaurants I worked in started serving whole sardines, head and all. As I watched the waiters get squemish, I was a little bummed that these staff of a seafood restaurant would be so scared of a fish head. It brought me back to my first whole fish experience, watching Tracey steam up whole trout in our kitchen, then excitedly pluck out the eyeballs. So I mosied down to my local Whole Foods and picked up a nice whole trout. It was cleaned already, which was nice, since I have no idea how one cleans a fish. To … [Read more...]

Lessons from a Chinese Roommate Part 1: Turkey Dumplings

When I was in college, I had to roommates that were from China. One of them ate only week old balogna she kept in the desk drawer and the unmentionables of some of the guys that lived on our floor, but the other one taught me alot of what I now know about cooking. These two dishes, turkey wontons and whole trout in chile sauce are both inspired by dishes she would make. One of the first things Tracey taught me about making dumplings was to not bother making the dough. Too much work, she said. Because I substitued ground turkey breast in for the pork for this recipe, I chose to use wonton … [Read more...]

Japanese Pork Belly and Asian Sides.

I recently had an amazing Kakuni, a Japanese pork belly dish at Maekawa in the International District and decided that I would try to make one myself. I also wanted to try to make yakionigiri, since I had been quite successful a while back at make onigiri (rice balls, I stuffed mine with smoked salmon and took them on a camping trip. Shown above is my full plate when I was done. Clockwise from the upper left you see the two hard boiled eggs, which stewed with the pork belly, the failed yakionigiri, the pork belly skin up, the hot mustard, the pork belly skin down, and the chinese broccoli. I … [Read more...]

A Thrown Together Feast

Some days dinner starts small and grows out of control, and monday was one of those days. Yet it wasn't hard work, and it was a lot of fun to put together. I rarely see my roommates A and O, so when I came home from playing tennis with B and started to cook our dinner, it was nice to see them around and I invited them to join us for dinner. I had just been planning to cut up some tuna sashimi and crab leg sashimi, but this would not have been enough for all four of us, so we went to work on our dinner.I sliced up the tuna sashimi (a find at a recent farmers market) and sliced two of the … [Read more...]